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Salami: I Broke KuPS Goal Record, It’s Time To Raise The Bar

Salami:  I Broke KuPS Goal Record, It’s Time To Raise The Bar

Completesportsnigeria.com's JOHNNY EDWARD speaks to Nigeria international, Gbolahan Salami, about life at his top Finnish League club KuPS (Kuopion Palloseura) after a failed loan move to Serbian side Red Star Belgrade. The former 3SC and Warri Wolves forward speaks about his new targets concerning Nigeria national team and and club careers. Excerpts…

 

Gbolahan, many felt you were not going to return to Kuopion Palloseura this season. What made you rescind your decision to rejoin them for the start of the season?

Well, as you know, I signed a one year deal with an option of another at the start of last season and the clause was activated, we agreed and I'm here doing what I know best. It was only wise for me to rejoin them and build on my career in Europe. Not too many teams were willing to meet my valuation and returning to Finland will only make me work harder to get into the big leagues.
 
You capped your return with a wonderful brace for Kuopion Palloseura in the Suomen Cup. How does that make you feel?
Great, because to score goals is what is expected of me and regardless from where and in which competition, I just want to continue scoring and hope that Kuopion Palloseura compete for the title this season. I broke a goal scoring record last season, so setting another standard is my priority this new season.
So what goals have you set for yourself this season with Kuopion Palloseura?
Do well for my team this season and maybe finish top scorer of the league, and maybe that will open more opportunities in Europe. I scored 15 goals last season and I hope to surpass that feat this season. The league title is what we are aiming at, and I hope we get that this term or at least qualify for any of the European competitions.
For over a year now, you have not been considered for the Super Eagles team. Aren't you bothered about it, considering the fact that you were one of the players with the highest scoring ratios in 2016?
I really don't want to talk about the Super Eagles because I'm not in the squad at the moment. It's always an honor to play for Nigeria, but I will rather talk about the team if I am in the team.
What do you make of the new Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr?
He has done well for himself winning his first three games, so I wish him and the team well. He has a target to get the team to Russia 2018 which I hope they achieve.
Do you nurse any ambition of returning to the senior national team?
Well I do, I was sad at the fact I was not considered because I believe I have a lot to offer the team.
What memories do you have of the Super Eagles and the years you spent in the side?
Happy ones! I was in the best form of my career prior to the 2017 African Cup of Nations where I scored against Chad, that was the last time I featured. If I can get a recall for the World Cup qualifiers this year, I will be glad. I’m working hard to achieved his. I like what others did in the team's last two games against Zambia and Algeria. My dream was to play for the national team in the first place, and I’ve already achieved that, but returning is still an objective that’s on my mind. 

 

 

 

 

What are your thoughts on the ongoing 2017 African Cup of Nations in Gabon?

I’m not following it because Nigeria didn’t qualify. I hope we end this poor run of not qualifying for tournaments.

But who do you tip to win the competition?

Senegal look good to win it, but Ghana and Cote d Ivoire are equally good for the title as well.

You're happily married now, how has that helped you blossom in your career?

It makes one responsible both on and off the pitch. I'm happy and much more calmer now, that is why the goals are coming very well. I'm happy and I'm cherishing every moment with my wife and kid.
 

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